A gorgeous home made Pad Thai

Nov 1, 2016 | 6 comments


I run a cooking group for the local U3A that meets once a month, and this months meeting was today. We made plain chow mein, a creamy leek cheese toast topper and this wonderful Pad Thai.

Pad Thai

It works out rather expensive for our budget here, although there are frugalisation steps you can take. It can still be fitted into a £1 a day budget by using £2 for 2 days and having cheaper things on the second day

At the full cost of £1.21 for the Pad Thai (the frugalised version can be 86p) that leaves 79p for the second day, so you could have …..
Jammy oat bar for breakfast, 7p
For lunch, many different soups come in at 20p, have a look at the recipes tab for lots of ideas
And for dinner, Beetroot & Feta Tart, 24p
Vegetable Casserole & Dumplings, 46p
Or Toasted Nan & Dahl, 38p

Pad Thai

125g egg noodles, £1/375g, 33p
an onion, 5p
a chilli / pinch of chilli powder etc
2 cloves garlic, fine chopped, 4p
50ml fish sauce, £1.68/150ml, 56p
tsp tamarind paste, £2/95g, 10p
50g palm sugar, £1/450g, 11p
2 tblsp veg oil, £1/litre, 3p
150g jumbo prawns £3.50/325g, £1.60
2 eggs, free range, £2/15, 27p
75g bean sprouts, 50p/360g, 10p
4 spring onions, sliced fine, 45p bunch, 10p
40g roasted peanuts 48p/200g, 10p
A lime, 25p
Total cost £3.64, per serving if 3, £1.21
The recipe says it is for 2, but it is a large amount and would easily serve 3.
Total nutrition 1,420 calories, 60g fat, 77g protein, 7g fibre
Per serving if 3, 473 calories, 20g fat, 26g protein, 2g fibre




Mix the fish sauce, tamarind paste and palm sugar. Add the chilli flakes.

Heat the oil and add the garlic and onion, cook until onion is transparent.

While the onions are cooking, cook the noodles until almost done. Drain well.

Add the sauce to the onions and allow to bubble and start to reduce. Taste the sauce and adjust with more tamarind for extra sourness, fish sauce for savouriness, palm sugar for sweetness, and a splash of water if it needs it. Add the noodles.

Beat the eggs, push the noodles to one side in the wok and pour in the eggs. Allow to cook, then stir through the noodles, don’t scramble the eggs.

Add the prawns and bean sprouts. Heat the prawns and bean sprouts through.

Pile the Pad Thai into a serving dish. Sprinkle over the spring onions and roasted peanuts and  serve immediately

Can be frozen prior to adding the spring onions and peanuts


Gorgeous! I loved this! It had a deep and savoury flavour from the sauce enhanced by the final drizzle of lime juice. The crunchy peanuts and tang of  spring onions on top add the final touch of loveliness.

This is a real classic dish and if you like it, it is SO much cheaper making it yourself, saving lots of £’s to stash away or spend on something wonderful.


If you want to make this, but want to make it cheaper, there are a number of swaps you could make.
Swap out the prawns at £1.60 for 200g breast of chicken at about £1.19, saving 41p
You could change to battery eggs, but I’d rather you didn’t
If you will use fish sauce often enough to make it worth while, get a larger bottle at about 750ml for £1.50, saving 46p
Swap the fresh lime for a drizzle of lime juice from a bottle, saving about 20p
You can swap muscovado sugar for the palm sugar, but the muscovado is significantly more expensive than the jaggery

Do all these frugalisation, and each serving drops to 86p


The original recipe, which was from the Sunday Times, used flat rice noodles, but my local supermarkets didn’t have any, so I used the fine egg noodles I already had in the cupboard. If you can find rice noodles, by all means use those.

I used jaggery, which is the same as palm sugar. If you don’t have that, I would substitute muscovado. Jaggery and muscovado have a lovely nutty flavour that really adds to the flavour of this dish.

Swap the prawns for other proteins, like chicken, tofu, beef or pork strips. I would also swap the peanuts for toasted almonds. Add lots of chilli if you like it.

Do give this a go, it isn’t difficult and it’s really good!

We didn’t take any pictures this  afternoon, so the lovely picture at the top of the page is from Pixabay



  1. Lesley

    Thanks Tash. I’ve got some leeks in the garden, so may be making this again soon 🙂

  2. Tash

    I am very interested too in the creamy leek and toast topper idea you cooked for the u3a. You are a great cook.

  3. Lesley

    I do try to make them that way

  4. New England Flybaby

    Recipe sounds scrumptious! You always sound so encouraging; the recipes don’t sound intimidating at all…

  5. Lesley

    Thank you

  6. Cass Bailey

    I love the way you write your recipes and give the different options to save money x x


  1. Creamy Leek & Cheese Toasty - Thrifty Lesley - […] a little while ago about the recipes we cooked at the last U3A cooking group, including a gorgeous Pad…

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